ISLAMABAD: After failing to implicate Editor-in-Chief of Geo/Jang Group Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman in a 34-year old land case, now efforts are afoot to fabricate new cases but the search ends at those which have already been concluded after allegations found unfounded.
A source privy to development said that different government departments have been asked to share information, if they have any, with NAB Lahore office.
The investigators are looking into the case relating to loan facility from National Bank of Pakistan (already settled), oft-repeated foreign funding allegations used for attacking the integrity of the biggest media group (without any evidence to establish illegality) and filing status of the companies registered with Security and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP). As of today, there is no case pending with SECP against Geo/Jang Group.
As for as the NBP’s 2009 loan facility is concerned, the bank and the borrower went into litigation and the case concluded through an out-of-court settlement in 2012 with both the loan and interest paid to the bank through agreed conditions.
It is also a fact that the issue was created because the then government was unhappy with Jang/ Geo editorial policy and it used a routine banking facility, availed by business community, to harass the media group.
Foreign funding is another allegation that government machinery is trying to explore for the purpose of fabricating new cases. If the officials assigned the task go through details uploaded on Geo’s website (https://www.geo.tv/response/) they can save themselves from unnecessary donkey work. Not only details related to foreign funding (which formed less than one percent of Geo revenue when Voice of America was given one-hour time) would be helpful, they can scan through other allegations leveled in the past along with the replies. Needless to mention that Voice of America was given airtime also by other channels like Express TV, Aaj TV and Hum TV, none of them have ever been alleged on these grounds.
Regarding filing of annual accounts with SECP, another aspect under scrutiny, there is no case at the moment against Geo/Jang from SECP. For record, no media company has filed audited accounts with SECP and less than 5 percent of private companies incorporated with SECP do the filing. In case any action is desired on the basis of non-filing, it must be across the board instead of targeting one media group.
Needless to mention that through a petition submitted in Supreme Court (when it had formed the media commission on the petition of Absar Alam and Hamid Mir), Geo/Jang had volunteered to declare assets of not only its owner but also of anchors and journalists provided declaration is mandatory across the media industry. Following was the prayer from Geo: “Direct the commission to recommend to honorable Supreme Court if in order to protect independence of media it should be mandated to declare assets of owners of media and hosts and anchors and reporters. If the Supreme Court feels it’s in the best interest to do so we will gladly declare and make it a policy for our media company and encourage others.”
In past, ARY had falsely accused Editor-in-Chief Jang and Geo group Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman of being a traitor and enemy of the state. ARY failed to prove these allegations in court and admitted that it has no evidence to back its vile claims.
Ofcom and the British court’s verdict have vindicated Jang and Geo group and its Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman, successfully defeating a dishonest media campaign of vile and baseless accusations.
The London High Court’s verdict in the defamation case was a historic win for Jang and Geo group and its Editor-in-chief. ARY admitted that it could not prove its accusations with evidence, clearing Jang and Geo group and its Editor-in-chief of all allegations.
The court ordered ARY to pay £3 million in damages and costs. Gilgit-Baltistan Supreme Appelate Court, the Balochistan High Court, and Sessions Court Quetta had also cleared Jang and Geo Group’s Editor-in-chief of false blasphemy allegations. However, ARY Network never aired this news.